All posts by Mike

Had to wait until it was hot enough to ride

Last Sunday Kevin set the world on fire, with a new PR for climbing Tunitas a full two minutes faster than he’d ever done before. 41-something, just two minutes off the best time of one of our wicked-fast customers, JeffZ. And Kevin’s not even in fighting shape right now, weighing about 10 pounds above his best. But last Tuesday Kevin slept instead of riding up Kings (said he didn’t get much sleep that night) and Thursday we took it pretty easy. So was it a surprise or not that yesterday (Sunday) I got the version of Kevin that could barely turn the pedals? My plan had been to do Redwood Gulch & Highway 9, one of the “ugly” rides. Kevin wanted no part of Redwood Gulch, and our slow pace through Woodside and Portola Valley reinforced the idea he wasn’t going to enjoy himself on such a ride. He suggested heading directly up Page Mill instead of continuing south; I said let’s just keep going and see how he felt a bit later, after stopping for fuel at Peet’s near our former Los Altos store. At that point I proposed two alternatives; one, continue heading south and check out the velodrome, see if anything was happening there, and take the train back home. Second option was to head back via Moody/PageMill/Skyline. He went for the second, which he later claimed was his plan all along.

It was interesting, climbing Page Mill “easy.” On a pretty warm day, Page Mill and “easy” are still a bit oxy-moranic. Temps ranged from 90 to 100 degrees, although it did “cool off” to 90-93F once on Skyline. It’s truly surprising how nice 90 degree can feel, after you’ve finished the main climb. It doesn’t make much sense, does it? And there’s that bizarre experience of riding on such a nice warm day on Skyline and looking out towards a fogged-in coast just a handful of miles away. We take such things for granted, but how common is it that temperatures vary so greatly over such a short distance? Bay Area micro-climates?

This was definitely a ride we finished much stronger than we started. Kevin takes all claim for it becoming an enjoyable ride though.

But it was worth it.

This morning climbing the big hill on my Tuesday/Thursday-morning bike ride, I had thoughts of turning around half-way, thinking I’d been doing this for 40+ years, maybe it’s time. But I pushed on through, because I’m not ready to face that reality yet, and what would I post here? That the time will come when you have to give up, not put your dreams on hold but realize they’re not possible?
Fortunately I don’t have too many days like this. One thing that keeps me going, pushing through such thoughts, is that I’m 65, been doing this for 51 years, and there has yet to be a day I didn’t feel better at the end of a ride than at the beginning. Or I should say, a day I thought afterward, I shouldn’t have ridden. Or ridden so hard.
I think the key thing is that what I do to myself, pushing myself, is voluntary. I am in control. When you’re dealing with issues at work, or at home, finances, kids, spouses… those can wear you down because you can easily feel like things are happening to you, other have control over you. Your exercise routine is totally you. You own it. You are it. You have 100% agency. You know what you accomplished and nobody can take it away from you. You didn’t let some obscure type of cancer stop you. You didn’t let all those things you *have* to do and aren’t appreciated for or feel like you’re just spinning wheels… they didn’t stop you. The doctor who told you “If you’re tired, just rest” didn’t stop you.
The only person who can really stop you… is yourself. This morning I didn’t let that happen. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like giving up. It wasn’t easy. But it was worth it.